Clinician, Researcher, Educator, Wife, Mother
Dr. Neda Laiteerapong is an Assistant Professor in the Section of General Internal Medicine. She graduated from Boston University School of Medicine and the University of Chicago Internal Medicine Residency program, and completed a General Medicine Fellowship, during which she obtained a Masters of Science for Clinical Professionals. In 2014, she was appointed as the Associate Director of Clinical Outcomes for the Center for Translational and Policy Research of Chronic Diseases. Her research focuses on getting the right care to the right person at the right time in their lives. As such, she has an NIDDK K23 grant studying how to individualize treatments for patients with diabetes and improve mental health care for patients with chronic disease. She recently was awarded a UCM Innovation Award to improve and study the mental health care for patients receiving care in the Primary Care Group.
Work-life balance exists on average in my life, but at any given moment, it feels like there is a preponderance of work-life imbalance. Probably the key to my work-life balance is having a supportive husband, who understands and respects my work.
I am married to Dr. Mark Roberts, a hematopathologist at Ingalls Memorial Hospital, and we have two delightful, very busy children, ages 3 years and 9 months. We split the household duties: he cooks and runs errands; I do the laundry, the household organization, and the finances; and we both clean. We have excellent support, some of which we buy – an amazing in-home day care, cleaning service, Amazon Prime, Google Express, Peapod, and Stitchfix (clothing stylist). We are also lucky enough to live near my parents, who come and watch our children 1-2 days a week.
As the planner in the family, I’ve found that it’s important to schedule time to make family time truly special. It’s a scary fact that my children spend more wake time at daycare than with me. So every weekend, I make sure we are doing things that are important to us, most of which is spending time with each other, family, and friends.
Advice to Women Faculty and Trainees
- Balancing what you want at work and life will be difficult, since you probably want many things. Therefore, develop skills to become more efficient. Read the book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. It will teach you how to delegate, defer, delete, and do things more efficiently. Then read “Time Management from the Inside Out” by Julie Morgenstern, who will teach you how to respect the limits of time and your abilities.
- Be present. Your email and Epic inbox will always be there and will always be filling up. When you are home, be with your family. When you are at work, be with your inboxes.
- Wake up early or stay up late. When everyone’s sleeping, an espresso (coffee, tea, etc.) never tasted so good.
- Ask for it! Read Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever’s book with this title if you don’t know how.
- Understand that your situation is not as unique as you may think. Ask for help from your colleagues for the big problems (“How did you get that awesome grant?”) and small problems (“Who cleans your house?”). Life is easier if you don’t have to come up with all the solutions yourself.